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Samsung announces the Galaxy Gear smartwatch

Samsung announces the Galaxy Gear smartwatch

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After giving as an accidental glimpse prior to today's big event, Samsung has finally revealed its new smartwatch, the Galaxy Gear. First impressions: it's big, but up on stage at IFA today it looks very little like the prototype watch VentureBeat leaked last week. The basic shape is the same, but, despite having a huge 1.63-inch 320 x 320 AMOLED display up front, it's a lot more svelte than the leak may have led you to believe.

The Galaxy Gear's front is dominated by that display, which is framed, unusually for Samsung, in metal. Its strap appears to be made of rubber, and, just as the leaks suggested, there's a camera built into the strap.

Just as we said leading up to the event, the Galaxy Gear isn't a phone. Instead, it's a companion for your phone. It uses Bluetooth to connect to Samsung Galaxy devices via a special app (which was also leaked). It's not clear if it'll connect to devices that aren't Samsung, but we'll do our best to find out what's supported. Given that the only version of Android to support low-energy Bluetooth 4.0 — which the watch almost undoubtably uses — is Android 4.3, we're not holding our breath for wide compatibility.

Once you've found a compatible phone and connected it up, you'll be able to place and answer calls, take voice memos, and get all of your phone's notifications up on the screen. There's also an app ecosystem in the works for the smartwatch, with 70 apps to be available at launch.

You can get the full story on Samsung's new smartwatch in our hands-on video feature.

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